THE GOAL: Aligning innovative higher education instructional programs and student experiences with expected job opportunities and workforce needs, so talent develops and stays in Virginia and employers have the well-prepared workforce needed for growth.
Talent development and recruitment/retention require a multifaceted strategy, including these higher education investments that will address workforce priorities, drive economic growth, and create better job opportunities for Virginians:
- HIGH-DEMAND DEGREES. Strategic investments in high-demand two- and four-year degrees and industry-recognized credentials.
- Technology and other high-growth sector initiatives (e.g., Tech Talent Investment Program; Commonwealth Cybersecurity Initiative; life sciences and bio sciences)
- Programs to address identified workforce shortages and regional skills gaps (e.g., teaching and healthcare positions; skilled trades)
- Initiatives to keep talented Virginians in state for education and employment, and to attract top talent from outside the Commonwealth, especially for high-growth, high-demand sectors.
- EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING. Internships and work-based learning initiatives.
- Using the new Innovative Internship Fund to create a major state-supported collaboration (among employers and business groups, higher ed institutions, and K-12 school systems) to establish learning-to-earning pathways and significantly expand systemwide access to internships and other experiential-learning opportunities.
- Innovative initiatives that integrate experiential learning in liberal arts curriculum to prepare resilient, well-rounded graduates ready for workplace success and active citizenship.
- INSTITUTIONAL PARTNERSHIPS. Using the new Institutional Partnership Performance Agreement (IPPA) statute to develop institution-specific initiatives and business-education partnerships that capitalize on schools’ distinctive strengths in addressing state and regional economic priorities.
- EXPANDING ACCESS. Initiatives that increase access to talent development and employment pathways for first-generation and under-represented students, working adults with partial college credit, and veterans.
- Enhanced online educational options, community college transfer programs, and other alternative pathways to marketable degrees and credentials.
- RESEARCH AND INNOVATION. Strategic investments in university-based research and collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystems.
- TALENT FOR TALENT. Increased state support for attracting and retaining key instructional and research faculty talent, especially to support talent development in high-demand, high-growth disciplines.